Gov. Malloy Nominates Fourteen Connecticut Residents to Fill Judicial Vacancies on the Superior Court
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is nominating fourteen state residents to fill vacancies for judgeships on the Connecticut Superior Court. These announcements come in addition to the eleven nominations for the court that the Governor made on Tuesday of last week, and the five he announced last Thursday.
While these nominations represent only a fraction of the 45 vacancies currently in the Superior Court, these 30 nominees will provide critical judicial capacity in performing the essential duties of the court system. The Governor intends to leave a total of 21 positions vacant by the end of his term. Currently, the bipartisan budget assumes a vacancy of only 12 positions, which means that this plan of action would realize additional, unanticipated budgetary savings by leaving nine funded positions vacant.
“Selecting nominees to fill vacancies in our court system is one of the most important duties that a governor performs – they must possess the qualities that build a stronger, fairer Connecticut for everyone in the long-run,” Governor Malloy said. “I believe that each of these women and men will bring to the bench the diverse qualities that mirror the people of our state while also meeting the high principles and integrity that our citizens deserve.”
Governor Malloy’s nominations for the Superior Court include:
- Matthew Edward Auger of Groton: Auger is a senior partner and trial lawyer at Suisman Shapiro in New London, where he has worked since 1988, specializing in personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims, automobile collisions, slip and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and product liability. He has also handled numerous complex commercial tax appeals, insurance coverage disputes, including bad faith claims, and commercial litigation. Auger is also a retired Captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He served on active duty from 1984 to 1988 and in the reserves from 1988 to 2014. He now volunteers to provide legal assistance to active duty military members, retired members, and their dependents at the Naval Submarine Base New London. He also currently serves as a Connecticut Superior Court Attorney Trial Referee, and is a judge of the Gaming Disputes Court for the Mohegan Tribal Court. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Government, and the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree.
- Claudia A. Baio of Rocky Hill: Baio is a partner at the law firm of Howard, Kohn, Sprague & Fitzgerald, LLP in Hartford, where she has worked since 2014. From 2000 to 2014 she operated her own practice – the Law Offices of Baio and Associates – which was merged into her current firm. Currently, she focuses her practice on litigation, including defense of a variety of claims in civil litigation as well as insurance defense, workers compensation defense, and insurance coverage policy/contract analysis. From 1999 to 2000 she was a managing attorney for Baio, Dratfield and Associates, and from 1990 to 1999 she was a partner with Gordon, Muir and Foley. She also served as a law clerk from 1989 to 1990 for the Honorable Flemming L. Norcott, Jr. of the Connecticut Appellate Court. In addition to her work as an attorney, Baio also currently serves as the Mayor of the Town of Rocky Hill, for whom she was elected to serve two terms. She has experience serving as a member of a wide variety of boards for organizations and government offices, including as a member and chair of the State Contracting Standards Board, president of the Trinity Club of Hartford Alumni Association, past president of the Hartford County Bar Association, past president of the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association, and past president of the Rocky Hill Chamber of Commerce, among others. She is a graduate of Trinity College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Educational Studies, and the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Tejas Bhatt of Windsor: Bhatt is an Assistant Public Defender in Hartford. A public defender since 2004, he has defended individuals charged with the most serious crimes in trial courts, represented individuals in post-conviction proceedings, and on appeal to the Appellate and Supreme Courts. He has trained other public defenders and testified before various legislative committees on criminal justice legislation. In addition, Bhatt is on the executive board of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association and is a member of the National Association of Public Defense. He is a graduate of Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai India, where he received a Bachelor of Commerce, and the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Donna M. Wilkerson Brillant of Cromwell: Wilkerson Brillant works in the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) as a Regional Manager for the West Central Region (Waterbury), where since 2013 she has managed the investigative operations for discrimination cases in the areas of employment, public accommodation, credit, education and racial profiling. Previously, she worked in 2013 as a Magistrate for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, and with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles as a Hearing Officer from 2012 to 2013. She also managed her own practice, the Law Office of Donna M. Wilkerson, from 2011 to 2013, where she focused on the areas of civil and human rights, employment, contracts, affirmative action, and commercial and family law. In addition, she worked from 1999 to 2011 as a Human Rights Referee for CHRO and was responsible for presiding over all phases of the public hearing process interpreting Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act and anti-discrimination statutes in conjunction with federal anti-discrimination laws. Between 2005 and 2007, Wilkerson Brillant served as the Chief Human Rights Referee and oversaw the operations of the Office of Public Hearings for CHRO. Wilkerson Brillant is also a Commercial Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association since 2004. She serves as a member of several organizations, including a fellow for the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program, the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, the American Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and Western New England College School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor degree.
- Karyl L. Carrasquilla of West Hartford: Carrasquilla is the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, where since 2015 she has led the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in its responsibilities of negotiating and prosecuting attorney disciplinary matters for the State of Connecticut. This includes conducting hearings before the Statewide Grievance Committee, the Superior Court, and the Appellate Court, in addition to participating in legal seminars on ethics issues. From 2008 to 2015, she served as the office’s Assistant Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Prior to joining the Judicial Branch, she worked in private practice with several law firms, including Noble, Young & O’Connor in Hartford from 2001 to 2004, the Law Office of Larry R. Levine in Hartford from 1999 to 2001, the law Office of Scott B. Clendaniel in Hartford from 1996 to 1999, and Sack, Spector & Barrett in West Hartford from 1995 to 1996. She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts, and Western New England College School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor degree.
- Robert A. D’Andrea of Litchfield: D’Andrea is a Commissioner for the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission – a position that he was appointed to in 2017. Previously, he developed several law practices in the New Milford, Lakeville, Torrington, Litchfield, and North Canaan areas, including Stedronsky & D’Andrea from 2011 to 2017; Brower, Organschi & D’Andrea from 2003 to 2011; and Guendelsberger & Taylor from 1999 to 2003. D’Andrea also worked as Contract Corporate Counsel for B/E Aerospace, Inc. in Bantam from 1998 to 1999, as General Counsel for Horton International, Inc. in Avon from 1997 to 1998, and as Deputy General Counsel for Integrated Control Systems, Inc. in Litchfield from 1993 to 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Hartford, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and Suffolk University Law School, where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Lisa Grasso Egan of New Haven: Egan is the Undersecretary for Labor Relations with the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, where since 2015 she has been responsible for representing the state in collective bargaining, contract grievance processes, and administrative hearings before the State Board of Labor Relations. She also provides training, consultation, and advice to state agencies on a broad range of personnel-related matters, such as policies and practices, disciplinary issues, termination and separation issues, leaves of absence, and responsible accommodation issues. Prior to joining the state, Egan worked in private practice with several law firms, including Berchem, Moses and Devlin, PC in Milford from 2013 to 2015; Durant, Nichols, Houston, Hodgson and Cortese-Costa, PC in Bridgeport from 1999 to 2013; and McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter, LLC from 1998 to 1999. She also worked for the City of New Haven in several capacities, including as Director of Organizational Development from 1996 to 1998, and as Director of Labor Relations from 1994 to 1995. She is a graduate of Providence College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and Georgetown University Law Center, where she received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Barbara A. Hoffman of Clinton: Hoffman is a Supervisory State’s Attorney for the State of Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice, where since 2011 she has been responsible for the administration of the prosecutor’s office, including the supervision of all prosecutors and support staff. Her responsibilities also include the prosecution of motor vehicle and criminal matters from the investigation, arrest, and arraignment through the pretrial and trial stages. She has also taken on the responsibility of prosecuting all of the GA sexual assault cases and some of the part A sexual assault cases. Prior to that role, she served from 1991 to 2011 as Senior Assistant State’s Attorney and from 1988 to 1991 as Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney. Upon graduating law school, she became a member of the New Mexico bar and worked in a law firm in Santa Fe before returning to Connecticut. She is a program presenter for the D.A.R.E. program for schools in Bethany, Killingworth, and Old Saybrook. She is a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and Oral Roberts University School of Law in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she received her Juris Doctor degree.
- Daniel J. Klau of West Hartford: Klau is an attorney with McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter, LLP in Hartford, where he has worked since 2010. His practice has focused on appellate and First Amendment litigation, particularly media law. He has also litigated a broad variety of complex disputes involving public agencies, private parties and commercial entities in federal and state trial courts. His media practice includes representing newspapers and other publishing entities in defamation matters and cases seeking access to court proceedings and files. Klau is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he has taught privacy law since 2003, and a supervising attorney for the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic since 2009. He is currently the president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information and a past president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government. Previously, Klau worked for Pepe & Hazard, LLP from 2003 to 2010, when it merged with his present firm; Wiggin & Dana from 1996 to 2003; and Ropes & Gray from 1991 to 1996. He also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Chief Justice Ellen A. Peters of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1990 to 1991. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and Boston University School of Law, where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Ronald E. Kowalski II of Norwalk: Kowalski is a partner at Cacace, Tusch and Santagata in Stamford, with whom he has practiced law since 1994, handling a significant civil litigation caseload, focusing primarily on property tax appeals, condemnation cases, foreclosures, lease and other contract-related litigation, union representation, lease negotiations, and appellate practice. Previously, he worked as a litigation associate with Seeley and Berglass, P.C. in New Haven in 1993; as a litigation associate with Pinney, Payne, VanLenten, Burrell, Wolfe and Dillman, P.C. in Danbury from 1992 to 1993; and as law clerk to the Honorable William J. Lavery of the Connecticut Appellate Court from 1991 to 1992. Kowalski has also served as a Special Master for tax appeals in the Stamford-Norwalk Judicial District and has written and lectured on litigation, tax appeal and appellate topics. He is a member of the Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut and previously served as Registrar of Voters for the Town of Easton. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Fine Arts, and Suffolk University Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree.
- Peter A. McShane of Madison: McShane is a State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Middlesex with the State of Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice, where since 2011 he has led law enforcement for criminal matters and the prosecution of criminals. Immediately prior to that, he served as Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney in Geographical Area 10 of New London from 2007 to 2011, as Senior Assistant State’s Attorney in the Judicial District of New London from 1994 to 2007, and as Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney in Geographical Area 10 of New London from 1988 to 1994. He also served as a law clerk for the Honorable John J. Daly of the Connecticut Appellate Court from 1987 to 1988. He is a graduate of St. Michaels College in Vermont, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and Boston University School of Law, where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
- Francis L. O’Reilly of Fairfield: O’Reilly is a partner with O’Reilly and Shaw, LLC in Southport, where he has worked since 1999. In this role, his practice areas have included federal and state criminal law, civil litigation, personal injury, and family law. Previously, he worked as the principal for the Law Offices of Francis L. O’Reilly from 1996 to 1999, and as a Financial Analyst with VentureManagement in New Jersey from 1991 to 1993 and with Credit Suisse First Boston in New York City from 1986 to 1990. He is graduate of the College at Brockport, State University of New York, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Finance, and Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor degree.
- Nada K. Sizemore of Cromwell: Sizemore worked in the insurance industry for over 31 years – 24 of which were with the Travelers Insurance Company in varying capacities in its corporate legal services organization. She most recently served as Second Vice President and General Counsel for Northland Insurance and Northfield Insurance – wholly owned subsidiaries of Travelers. In this capacity, she provided full legal support for the 500-person Northland organization within the Travelers Business Insurance Legal and Claim Legal groups. She currently provides legal support to varying religious nonprofit organizations including the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America; St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Boston, Massachusetts, Inc.; and the Central Church Council. Prior to her career in insurance, she had served a two-year appointment as a Judicial Law Clerk to Connecticut Superior Court judges. She is a graduate of Western Connecticut State College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts, and Pace University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor degree.
- Michael Wu of Canton: Wu is the Managing Attorney for the Waterbury office of Connecticut Legal Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income people by providing access to justice. In this capacity, he oversees an office of a dozen attorneys and legal assistants serving clients in Greater Waterbury, Greater Danbury, and Litchfield County. He also practiced consumer law in a strategic initiative to identify more effective ways to assist persons being sued because of consumer credit card debt. Previously, he operated with his brother the Law Offices of James Wu, LLC from 2014 to 2017, practicing civil litigation with a focus on commercial matters. Between 1986 and 2014 he held a number of assignments of increasing responsibility within United Technologies Corporation, including Otis Elevator, Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Standard (now UTC Aerospace Systems), and UTC Corporate Headquarters. This included managing Otis’s North American Litigation Department of in-house attorneys, paralegals, and claims administrators, and managing its Commercial Legal and Contracts functions. He also worked from 1987 to 1989 at Combustion Engineering Inc., and from 1983 to 1986 at Howd and Ludorf. Wu is actively involved in his community, including serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Plymouth. He is also bilingual in English and Spanish. He is a graduate of Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, where he received his Bachelor of Arts, Yale University Divinity School, where he received a Master of Divinity, and Western New England University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor degree.